A typical day at SilviBio is spent devising solutions in our Scottish labs to the problems facing foresters and the forestry industry as a whole. However, the challenges facing forestry are global in scale and consequence, so sometimes the best way to understand them is to go see them in action. Thus, we sent out our CEO, Alicja Dzieciol and operations officer, Philip Shelton, to the Future Forest Forum in Germany to better understand the EU forestry market.
Held underneath the watchful gaze of the Harz mountains, the Future Forest Forum brought together foresters, researchers, startups of all sorts and the occasional venture capitalist over 3 days to discuss the various challenges surrounding the German forestry sector.
Fortunately for our non-German speaking team, the event organisers ensured that there was something for everyone, and we learned so much from our German counterparts that would have been inaccessible otherwise.
In particular, we learned that the German foresters similarly struggle with water deficits and drought just like UK foresters. Furthermore, because water deficits weaken trees, this makes the parched forests the ideal target for bark beetles that feast on weak and vulnerable trees. The devastation was clear to see and sadly was widespread throughout the Harz mountains.
As you can see in the above picture, the damage from drought leaves literal scars upon the landscape as the trees become their own grave markers.
Even in healthier parts of the forest–like the picture above–you can still see the dead and/or dying trees congregating in clumps along the mountain slopes.
Here at SilviBio, we already knew our work of designing water saving technologies for forestry was important, but seeing the horrendous destruction drought can bring firsthand steeled our resolve. Furthermore, it is clear to us that we must expand to the EU and other regions so we can help cultivate and protect the world’s forests.
Before we sign off, a big thank you to the organisers, Future Forest Initiative for organising this pioneering event and building a visionary community capable of frankly discussing the issues at hand and potential solutions.
As part of our participation at the Forum, we received hand-picked mentors and the privilege of pitching (in English) to key stakeholders in the German forestry sector.
If it were just this, we would be incredibly grateful, but in fact, we made several connections that will hopefully blossom into bountiful opportunities and long-term partnerships. Over the next few months, we hope to have exciting news to share!